New project: Make SVG icons for Symbian from any image – Free!

I am glad to announce our latest online project SVG2Go, for mobile developers targeting Symbian platform. As the name suggests, SVG2Go is for making cool looking SVG icons from any image file. And best of all, it’s online and free ;)

Start using SVG2Go online here: http://www.orison.biz/apps/svg-icon-maker/

Icons made with SVG2Go can be used for all Symbian applications made using Symbian C++, Qt and Flash Lite. Even you can use it with our other product SWF2Go, to rapidly develop cool games and applications using Flash Lite and publish them on Ovi Store.

Until now, making a nice looking SVG icon was a really hard task. The icon made using Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape doesn’t look the way designer created them, when it appeared on mobile device. Let me give you an example:

tron-icon-example

You might have checked out the Disney sponsored Tron : Tanks Arcade game on Ovi Store, made from the Tron : Legacy movie theme. Take a look it’s icon, no offense to anyone here, but I’m guessing that the developer might have not been able to produce a better icon in time, so he used this one, which doesn’t look good enough. But, the game is quite impressive, smooth graphics and play experience.

Using SVG2Go, anyone can make a really nice SVG icon instantly using the same Photoshop raster artwork. No need to experiment with SVG-T or fiddling with viewbox property. The output SVG icon looks exactly as you have made them. No tweaking needed.

As always, bellow is the screenshot of SVG2Go in action.

svg2go-screenshot

Give it a try, and do let us know of your experience with it, or any suggestions you might have. And don’t forget to share it with your fellow Symbian developers.

// chall3ng3r //

Adobe is back in business with AIR for Android

air_132x132 Today Adobe released AIR for Android for all regions on Android Market. The timing of the release is just perfect, read on to know why ;)

For last few years Adobe is trying hard to enable Flash content inside mobile browsers, it’s been not a big success because of lack of processing speed on mobile devices, complexities of mobile operating systems and of course, Apple.

Personally I think Flash inside mobile browser is only good for video, and that’s it. In last 3-4 years, I have hardly seen any Flash content inside browser (other than video) optimized for mobile on my Flash enabled Nokia devices which include Nokia N95, N78, N96, 5800XM and so on. And even I tired once to make something myself, but the performance and interaction complexity of in-browser Flash content was completely non-acceptable, at least for me. However, I managed to make some cool projects using Flash Lite which allows out-of-browser apps using SWF2Go.

I have been using Google Nexus One for some time now, and viewing Flash content inside browser is just a cool experience and performance is great as well. But interacting with Flash content is still not really a nice experience, except Flash content which only have one or two big clickable buttons, i.e. ads :)

Welcome to Installable Flash Apps, a.k.a. AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime)

This is where Adobe is going to win big time. There are many good reasons why, but I’d like to share some important ones which will make a greater overall difference.

1) Today there are many mobile OSes out there including Android, iOS, Symbian, WinMo, WinPhone, MeeGo, QNX, webOS and many more. Every OS have different programming language and set of APIs, and mastering them all is really a hard task.

AIR for Mobile is going to ease this by providing familiar development tools we have been using for years, Flash Professional and Flash Builder (Flex) and single programming language, ActionScript 3 with consistent set of APIs.

2) When I first started playing with Android SDK, I was completely disappointed because of lack of GUI designing tool. You have to write everything via code, be it JAVA or XML representation of GUI.

Now with AIR for Android, you have those GUI designing tools, Adobe Flash Professional CS5 and Flash Builder 4. With Flash Pro there are millions of developers who can now reuse their skills and tweak thousands of games and applications to run on Android based devices within days. Time to market is a lot quick for applications developed on AIR, so it will also make a huge impact for sure.

Expect Android Market to flood really soon with tons of cool games and applications. Apple, get ready for real competition ;)

3) This is perfectly the right time for AIR on mobile devices. We see every day there’s a new mobile device released. Even I read couple of Tweets saying "another day, another Tablet" :)

Just today, I was invited in launch of Samsung’s mobile devices Wave II, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab for Pakistan region. I tried Galaxy Tab firsthand, it gave a really pleasant experience. Performance of UI and interactions were real smooth, but the browser showed a little lag when scrolling. It wasn’t deal breaker, so it’s all sweet I can say :)

Galaxy-Tab

The good thing was, I took my laptop and Nexus One along to demo a fun online collaboration game-application I developed a day ago. So, one user was on Nexus One, another on Galaxy Tab and one on my laptop, and it was pure fun when we all were able to play around with the application, it worked flawlessly!

I will be posting a sneak peak demo of this new collaboration game-application done in AIR over the weekend, so stay tuned ;)

And finally wrapping up this post, I can see Adobe is getting lot of traction in coming days and tons of games and applications for Android. This is all good news for owner of the cool new devices, and developers who are going to make some cash ;)

AIR for Android is a really big milestone for Adobe and millions of Flash developers around the world. Excellent job Adobe!

// chall3ng3r //

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Update – Thanks Adobe for removing ugly installer

Today I got another update notification for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The first thing I noticed that the notification looked prettier than the last update. I really hated that ugly Adobe Download Manager or ADM in short. Take a look how it was in previous update:

adm-1  adm-2

In installation process, ADM was downloaded first which was almost the same download size of the Flash Player itself, so I don’t get why Adobe used it in the first place. If it supports resume-able downloads, then Adobe should only use it for downloading trial versions of Adobe CS products.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 Update

This new version features better hardware acceleration, multi-touch and gestures, private browsing support and as always enhanced performance and memory management. Read more here.

I am happy that Adobe now have switched back to better and tiny (only ~2.8MB total) installer. The update notification included summary about what new features it offers and links for more details.

The only thing which I’ve been asking Adobe to put in these update dialogs is complete version numbers of the currently installed Flash Player, and new version. So the user could know what exact version he is upgrading to.

flash_update1

 

flash_update2

flash_update3

 

flash_update4

The overall Flash Player update experience was great this time. Excellent job Adobe!

// chall3ng3r //

Why Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is not 11.0?

flashplayer Well, it seems quite late to ask this”¦again, but I’d like to know why?

This update of Adobe Flash Player is huge, and is also the first version from Open Screen Project. It’s super fast, it’s mobile optimized, it’s multi-touch enabled, it’s everything Flash Player 10.0 was not.

I don’t see a reason why Adobe don’t want to call it version 11.0? Anyone else want to know or maybe know why?

Update: I already went through Emmy’s post regarding version numbering. I just think this is a major update, so the change in version number should be major?

// chall3ng3r //

Biggest Flash video player mistakes!

It’s not just me who is stuck on really crappy ISP. I know there are millions of users like me around the world :)

youtube  yahoo_video

bliptv  hulu

viddler  vimeo

I would like to highlight some biggest mistakes which almost every other popular video sharing service make. Yes, that includes YouTube, Vimeo, Google Video, Yahoo Video, or just think of any major service. Just take a look on above screenshots, and try to notice what’s missing?

I know you’re wondering, what are these mistakes?

  • Mistake 1: A simple “Stop” button. Can you believe that? There’s always a Pause / Play button and Scrubber, but no one ever cared about adding a simple Stop button.

    What this button should do? Well, stop the video and break the damn connection!

    If you are on a crappy connection like me, and you clicked to play a video, there’s only one way to stop it sucking all the bandwidth, refresh entire page. Flash Player does offer APIs to close an ongoing stream, but no one uses it.

    Life can be really easy for users on slow connections if there’s one more button to Stop a video in the embedded player.

  • Mistake 2: It’s just my guess, but I think it’s correct that developers who program these Flash video players are on company’s corporate high speed networks. So, they click the video and it plays. What about users on slow connections?

    I don’t think they even bother to test the video playback on slow connection. Flash Player offers APIs to set the video buffer, so the video is buffered for few seconds for smooth playback experience. But again, not used. Or if used, not optimized.

    It’s even worst on Adobe own website, where I noticed videos start playing as soon as few bytes are received. The video plays choppy and on homepage intro video, there’s no Pause button”¦ just imagine how bad impression it makes.

  • Mistake 3: Tiny player control buttons. As there are more and more touch based devices in hands of users, watching videos on these cool gadgets is increasing. But what I found that designers of Flash video players do not think about if the same player is used on such device.

    For example, on my Nokia N900, a cool Maemo Linux based device which can play videos from most of the popular video services, but the controls are not optimized for touch input which makes them hard to use. And really stupid things happen, and user end up closing the video window.

    Well, the developer can detect the device and render different set of controls. But I think the easiest option would be to make one design which fits the bill for desktop + touch device optimized user controls.

  • Mistake 4: I really hate when I try to quickly pause / stop a video by clicking anywhere on video, which opens a new window to service’s website. As the control buttons are already too small, the general sense is to pause the video when clicked on it. Some services do avoid this mistake, but most services just want the user to get to their website, and this seems to be the easiest option for them.

    It’s worst on small screen touch input devices, where user have to do 2-3 tries to actually pause a video. Really bad user experience.

I can just hope and wish my this blog post somehow gets to the actual designers & programmers or decision makers of Flash video players for these video services. And also they try to fix these mistakes.

Do you think there are any more mistakes? Post them in comments.

// chall3ng3r //

Flash Help – External help viewer for Adobe Flash CS3

Finally, last night I made it. Its kinda quick and dirty, but it works, at least for me as I want it :). Here a screenshot:

FlashHelp_v01

I made this external help viewer for myself, but I thought if anyone who also finds Help Panel in the way most of the time when working in Flash CS3, might like to use it.

Download: FlashHelp_v01.zip

Note: Requires MS. Net Framework v2 or later. Not needed on Vista

// chall3ng3r //

Photoshop Express FREE!

Yes, thats true. 2GB of free space from Adobe. Plus an online version of Photoshop to fix / enhance your photos.

Photoshop Express Screenshot

photoshop express screenshot 2

Update: New screenshot

So far it feels like a great service. On some blogs I read an impression maybe its too late for such service where there are already number of other services with similar features.

Well, I think coming late in scene have its disadvantages, but the biggest benefit could be, learning all the good things from earlier services. And offer something which users are expecting — Just like Microsoft did by bringing Silverlight, learning everything from Flash.

At this time, beta of service is ready. You can start here.

// chall3ng3r //

AIR is LIVE!

Finally its time for some business. AIR, short for Adobe Integrated Runtime is just released as v1.0 final product by Adobe.

air_logo

Its a runtime to make RIAs for desktop, even one can create just old desktop only applications with it as well. The main hype for this runtime is that it runs on Windows and MAC OS without any change to the code. Linux version will be released later.

While AIR was in beta, we have seen some great applications and examples that will, for sure, inspire developers to create great experiences with AIR in coming days.

Get the final binaries here.

One thing I’m very confused about is, why Adobe call it Adobe AIR, Even in the Logo? making it Adobe Adobe Integrated Runtime :S

I don’t see MS calling .Net as Microsoft MS.Net Framework. Is there a catch that i missed?

Anyway, there’re tons of new and updated resources to check out. I just skimmed through these:

I barely touched AIR while it was in beta, but now I am planning to get my hand dirty with some Flex and AIR.

BTW, the AIR download size is just over 11MB. A bit heavy than I expected. And it might be noticed by many mid– to low-bandwidth users.

Next thing to do, get the AIR SDK, and get your hands dirty!

// chall3ng3r //

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Adobe goes Open Source!

Adobe launched on online website for its Open Source projects. The first projects available on the new community website are:

Adobe Open Source Home: http://opensource.adobe.com

This is very good step forward, as most startup companies are now adays adopting Open Source software. With Adobe’s OS technologies, we will see good change, hopefully :)

// chall3ng3r //